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Liz old date wins dirt war

London, April 16 (Reuters): US film producer Steve Bing won “substantial” libel damages from a British newspaper today over an article claiming he had tried to tarnish the reputation of his former lover, actress Liz Hurley.

Bing, demonised in the UK’s tabloid press for disputing the paternity of Hurley’s child in 2001, had sued the Daily Mail over a story headlined “Private eyes and sexual slurs — how Bing is trying to destroy Liz”.

The article said the millionaire producer and his co-claimant, Los Angeles lawyer Martin Singer, had “orchestrated a vicious campaign” to destroy the reputation of the British actress, Bing’s lawyer Nathalie Paterson told the High Court.

Bing, 38, had dated Hurley, 37, who starred in Bedazzled and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, for about 18 months when she became pregnant. But he caused a transatlantic storm when he issued a public statement questioning whether he was the father.

He later acknowledged fatherhood of her son Damian but only after a DNA test.

Paterson said the Mail story claimed Bing and Singer had hired an “anti-Hurley team”, including a private detective to “dig up dirt” on Hurley to reduce the amount of money a US court would order Bing to pay in any paternity suit.

“No such campaign was waged or orchestrated by Mr Bing or by Mr Singer on Mr Bing’s behalf,” Paterson said.

The Mail’s lawyer said the paper has apologised and agreed to pay substantial but undisclosed damages to British children’s charities chosen by Bing.

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